Post #1 : Why do you think gardens have always been an intrinsic part of European culture?

A Medieval Monastic Garden in france

The societal organization and myriad of values in Roman society allowed for the concept of otium. Otium is the notion of removing oneself from the hustle and bustle of daily life to pursue creative and enlightening activities. This general idea is central to gardens being a vital part of European culture. There has always been and always will be a need to escape from the pressures of everyday life. Nowadays this is called a vacation, but back then travelling was much more limited if not impossible for some. Europeans have always stressed the importance of leisure time that is seen in policies even today. For this reason, gardens have consistently been an essential realm where almost every social class can relax and enjoy epicurean feasts plant and tend productively while finding peace of mind.

Gardens often had a common theme of religion and were often used as a place of spiritual reflection. Gardens in Europe were a utopian paradise distinct from the natural environment and urban life. In the Roman Garden, the emphasis on religion and aesthetic sophistication seen in society were translated into gardens. There were often statues of Gods and angels that may have been associated with biblical stories or myths. The main function of Medieval Monastic Gardens was similar in that they had a religious and spiritual function, but they were much more utilitarian. This is because monasteries were supposed to be entirely self-sufficient. This brings me to the last point, which is the important role of class distinction in garden function. Lower class people had primarily productive gardens. Kings and nobility had huge, decorative, romantic gardens that were lush places of pleasure. The more middle class people could have had either or a combination of both. To sum up, the various functional, spiritual and recreational possibilities that gardens offer are the reasons for their importance in European culture.

Medieval Gardens

Post #1 : Why do you think gardens have always been an intrinsic part of European culture?

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